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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

One success habit I've struggled with for years is getting enough sleep. I developed this bad habit in grade school! I just love staying up late and doing stuff. I read until I can barely turn the page of my book or I nod off reading Polititico news on my iPad.

But often my work suffers because of this. 

Today I'm going to give you some great tips on establishing new success habits, but I know from experience that it can be a real challenge. 

Mostly it's because we don't want to change, as the old habit seems much more immediately gratifying than the success habit we want to establish.

Nevertheless, here are three things that do work (most of the time). Just don't beat yourself up if you don't get immediate results. 

 

1. Get the Support of a Group or Community

A famous yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda, often said, "environment is stronger than will."

If you want to make changes and develop positive habits, a group or community can make all the difference. Trying to make changes and attain success in isolation is very difficult. 

And of course, as an Independent Professional you may find yourself isolated working at being successful in your business but experiencing a lot of struggle. 

Take advantage of the support of a group if you want to…

• Learn a profession (graduate school)

• Climb Mt. Everest (climbing team)

• Learn business and marketing skills (training course)

• Become a musician (a band)

• Improve your overall business success (support group)

• Generate new ideas (brainstorming group)

With group support, you're not relying solely on your own knowledge and will power. Instead you are surrounded by others who want you to win as well. Get together with people who are committed to success and making a difference, not with those who are committed to complaining. 

Look to the success of Meetup.com. There are thousands of groups all over the country gathering to support each other in endless different ways. 

Group support doesn't guarantees success, but it certainly makes it a lot easier and way more fun. I've always found that being in a community of support helps me up my game and play my best.

 

Then take this next step... 

2. Get Individual Success Coaching

Coaching is now a verified, proven approach to making changes and developing new success habits. In coaching, the coach and client make a "pact for change." They determine the areas where the client wants to expand, the work required to make those changes, and the challenges they will have to get though to succeed. 

Coaches understand that change is difficult. But they also know, that with knowledge and support, change is possible. Coaches are patient, persistent and creative. And they have a toolkit of methods that work to move from tiny steps to big ones until a new habit is formed. 

If you belong to a group – and also take individual coaching – you can get results really quickly. In the group program you are challenged to take steps outside of your comfort zone. Then the coaching zeroes in on your specific issues and needs and provides the direction to move forward with more confidence.

If you don't have a coach, you are shortchanging yourself. The cost of a coach is offset by your increase in productivity, results and income.

 

The final step is to...

3. Create Rituals and Systems

Remember in college how overwhelmed you were with the amount of study it took to pass a test, let alone master the topic? At some point you either surrendered to the necessity of establishing fixed study times and habits – or you decided to wing it. 

Winging it didn't work too well, did it?

Kelly St. Claire, on Wisdompreneurs, just posted about writing her blog every week: "I make it an enjoyable ritual. I prepare a special coffee and get up a bit early to have the house to myself. This is a real treat for me. So it helps me be consistent because I look forward to it."

This is very different from making empty promises, trying to "power through" something or making erratic and random attempts that never seem to stick. 

To establish a ritual or system here's a simple checklist:

1. Be very clear about what you want to change or what success habit you want to establish. And start with something small.

2. Write down what it would look like once that habit was established. What would you be doing differently? 

3. Imagine or visualize what it would feel like if you were doing this success habit consistently, and also visualize how it would feel to get the results that came from this habit. 

4. Now design your ritual or system. For instance: I will do these exercises every morning by 8:30 a.m. I will do this and that, etc. Again, keep it simple. A few steps, not 50!

5. Tell your group and/or your coach about your new success ritual or system and welcome their input and ideas. 

6. If necessary, work on exploring the limiting beliefs that might hold you back from doing this. (see The Unstuck Process)

7. Set up a reward or celebration for benchmarks on the way to establishing this habit. I.e., the first month, 6 months, 1 year.

By the way, I just reached the three-month milestone for doing my back stretching exercises that's made a huge difference to my overall well-being. I can't NOT do them anymore. 

8. Don't try to tackle several new habits at once. That's a set-up for failure. Add another one when your new habit is firmly established and you can't imagine living without it. 

9. Realize that the habit of establishing new success habits could be the most powerful success habit of all. So create a ritual for sitting down and following the steps above on a regular schedule. 

OK, time for action! What is the first success habit you'll pick?

Cheers, Robert Middleton

P.S. Note to self: Take these steps with my bad sleeping habits. 

P.P.S. I'm sure some people will send me some tips about this! Please put them on the blog, OK? 

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Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.